Duo convicted of attempted jailbreak

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Alleged coup plotter Albert Mugove Matapo (43) and jailbird Lucky Mhungu (28) were yesterday convicted of attempting a jailbreak at Chikurubi Maximum Prison two years ago.

Harare regional magistrate Morgan Nemadire is today expected to hear submissions in mitigation from the accuseds lawyer Charles Warara before passing sentence.

During trial, the State proved the twos attempt to escape from prison in April 2010 after being assisted by a former prison officer Donald Gwekwerere. At the close of the State case, they made an application for discharge which was dismissed on December 15 last year.

Gwekwerere, who is already serving a prison term after being convicted of aiding the jailbreak, became the States star witness in the matter.

He told the court he was approached by Matapo and Mhungu, who is already serving a 12-year jail term for armed robbery, and was promised a house, car, $6 000 cash and assistance to get a job in the United States of America if he facilitated their escape bid.

The planned escape was, however, foiled by other prison guards.

Prosecutor Michael Reza said on the particular day, the two men were in Cell-2 down FA- Hall when they cut some burglar bars securing the observation window using a hacksaw and a hammer.

Reza said they created a hole in a bid to properly execute their escape, but an alert prison officer apprehended them before they bolted away.

Matapo has been in custody since 2007 on treason charges following allegations of attempting to topple the government, but the Supreme Court cleared him of the charges saying the State had infringed on his rights by failing to try him within a reasonable time.

Meanwhile, regional magistrate Fadzai Mthombeni scrapped the reporting conditions of the three women accused of sexually attacking male hitchhikers.